Game 35: Canadiens capitalize vs. Hurricanes

Canadiens’ Andrei Kostitsyn reacts as he gets the puck past  Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward for Montreal’s second goal Thursday night. Ellen Ozier, Reuters

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• At a Glance: The Canadiens now have a winning streak for road games on Dec. 23. For the second straight year, the Habs defeated the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 23, this time by a score of 3-2 on Thursday night. After a goalless first period, the teams traded five goals in the second period, which was all the scoring in the game.
Chad LaRose scored 1:02 into the period while the Hurricanes were shorthanded after Roman Hamrlik and Yannick Weber coughed up the puck in front of Carey Price.
But Hamrlik made up for that error a few minutes later with a nice pass to Scott Gomez, who split the Carolina defence and fired a shot between Cam Ward’s legs for his fifth goal of the season.
Erik Cole made it 2-1 Carolina when he scored off a scrambled faceoff 15:17 into the period.
But only nine second after scoring, Cole was sent off for five minutes after hitting Canadiens defenceman Jaroslav Spacek from behind.
Andrei Kostitsyn, who was a healthy scratch on Tuesday night in Dallas, scored on the ensuing power play to tie the game 2-2.
During the same power play, Alexandre Picard scored with a blast from the point to give the Canadiens their first lead of the game at 3-2.
Price recorded his 20th win of the season.

• Key Moments: The five-minute penalty to Cole changed the momentum in the game in favour of the Canadiens after the Hurricanes had taken a 2-1 lead.

• What It Means: Montreal won for only the second time in seven games, improving its record to 20-13-2 for 42 points to maintain first place in the Northeast Division.

• What’s Next: The road trip continues after a few days off for Christmas with stops against the New York Islanders on Boxing Day, the Washington Capitals, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers on New Year’s Eve.

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